THE BLOG
01/30/2009 08:17 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Live From Davos: Green Investing, US Foreign Aid Implications

The World Economic Forum released a new study on the clean technology sector here in Davos. The report is a joint effort of the WEF and New Energy Finance, a consultancy out of London.

The report is a good overview of the green tech sector and it contains a number of interesting sidebars on areas that it does not have scope to mine in depth. One sidebar focuses on the use of microfinance to spread clean technology in the developing world.

Two billion people worldwide have no access to modern fuels and 1.6 billion have no access to electricity. In addition, hundreds of millions more live in areas with unreliable grids and experience regular outages disrupting light, water pumps and other essential functions.

These emerging areas can leapfrog the industrialized world and go straight to renewable energy. There is no incumbent energy supplier to supplant. Consider how China skipped over the landline phase of telecom and now has more than 450 million mobile phones.

The report highlights the following organizations which are exploring ways to use distributed, microfinance methods to bring clean tech to developing markets:

• Acumen Fund www.acumenfund.org
• D-Light Design www.dlightdesign.com
• E+Co www.eandco.net
• GEXSI www.gexsi.org
• Global Village Energy Partnership www.gvep.org
• Grameen Shakti Bank www.gshakti.org
• Green Microfinance www.greenmicrofinance.org
• Solar Electric Light Fund www.self.org

Additional providers can be found at: http://www.seepnetwork.org

As Obama considers a new US foreign aid strategy to engage with emerging countries, these models are worth a look.